Last woman standing…


Change is inevitable. The only constant in anyone’s life is change. As such, our Jiu-jitsu school has undergone another shift in its evolution, unfortunately, that comes with a little pain. Then, this quote on Facebook appeared in my feed that summed up what I am experiencing.

“Life is uncertain and unstable. Everything is changing constantly, nothing stays ever the same. This instability is what makes life so diverse and opens infinite possibilities to recreate our lives.

Very often we want something so much, but life and the universe give us other paths and opportunities. I know it’s hard to let go and to accept certain boundaries life gives us, but as I said. Exactly that is what pushes us forward and opens new possibilities.”

Daria Albers

The beginning…

Before I get into recent events, it’s best to start at the beginning. For three and a half years our school has undergone some substantial changes. When I first started, we were in a 2,000 square foot roller rink. The mats were old (they acted like glue), there was no air conditioning, but we had loads of space. We could run Muay Thai and Jiu-jitsu simultaneously without fear of running into anyone. There was a boxing ring in one corner, an octagon in the other and plenty of seating for parents. Our classes were full and seminars often held 100 participants and then some!

I remember having several women in the beginner class. The day class was taught by a woman and tended to be predominately women. The night class usually had 5-10 women at any time, beginner or advanced. There were new students starting almost daily. It seemed to be busy all the time.

The move.

Six months into my training, the business had to move, which was fine with me because it put the school closer to the house we purchased. It was half the space we were used to, but it was a good place to call home. So everything was hauled to the new location. They installed brand new flooring and higher quality mats. The cage went up along with the heavy bags. The new gym had central heating and air, a bonus in the Colorado weather. We lost a few students and some coaches during the transition, but as always, the team moved forward. Members came and went until I was one of two remaining women.

Now, after three years at the new location, we were told that we would need to move. For the second time, we hauled everything out to be installed in the new academy. Unfortunately, the new location makes it difficult for some of our members to continue attending class, and with that, my primary training partner for the past three years has left. I am currently the only female member that regularly attends class.

Heartbreaking news…

Last week, my partner tells me she is leaving the academy to take a break and reassess her Jiu-jitsu training (she’s been a regular attendee for 12+ years). Admittedly, when she first told me, I was upset. She’s close to earning her black belt and I wanted to see her achieve it. Who would answer all my silly questions and ground me into the mat so thoroughly, all I could do was laugh? I had a million questions and no answers.

Last night was the last time I would be able to train with her. That realization grew more heavy as class went on. Finally, we said our goodbyes  and went our separate ways. I was more devastated than I had anticipated. Thankfully, I kept myself together long enough to make it to my car and head home. The events over the past several weeks (I won’t go into the details) had finally built up and I was overwhelmed with emotions. Anger, sadness, frustration. I just needed time to work through them. My amazing husband drove around for a bit, giving me time to pull myself together before heading home for dinner.

During that time I discovered that I am genuinely happy for her, and very proud. She had made some very adult decisions recently that will make her stronger and help heal some old wounds. While everyone at the school will miss her, this is a new chapter in her life and I can’t help but be happy for her.

Thoughts on moving forward.

Since her announcement, I have been thinking long and hard about the situation and what this meant for my training. For several months I had been fighting with myself on how to explain to her that I needed new training partners more often and here, the universe had given me an easy out. I know that this is the beginning of the next chapter in my training, and her’s. This transition will provide ample opportunity for me to roll with different body types, individuals with varying skills and attempt submissions I was never able to try.

So, I am setting new goals for the remainder of this year and bring in the new year with a stronger mindset. My ground game has suffered a bit since I haven’t been rotating in with the guys as often as I should have. This is an opportunity to improve, grow and toughen up a little. I have also taken this on as a challenge, to refocus on what I want to achieve and the type of game I would like to have.

Monday will be my first practice without her and a new chapter in my own life.